After Tuesday's NBA draft lottery, the order for next month's selection is set. We know which teams are selecting where in what may be the most anticipated draft in the past decade.
Now the question is: Who will go first?
Many people think that honor will go to one of three outstanding freshmen: Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. And while Cleveland Cavaliers fans have lots of reasons to be excited about all of those picks, recent history suggests that it's not the first pick that fans should focus on. Instead, it's the second.
After the Milwaukee Bucks were awarded the second selection, the team tweeted out this tidbit:
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) May 21, 2014
While it's hard to deny the quality of superstars selected at No. 1 (LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal), it appears that the second selection has longer longevity. In fact, the second selection in eight of the past nine years has played more games than the man picked above him.
As you can see below, the only No. 1 pick since 2005 to play more games than the No. 2 pick of the same year is Blake Griffin (the irony there, of course, is that Griffin missed an entire season after having knee surgery).
2013: Anthony Bennett (52 games), Victor Oladipo (80 games)
2012: Anthony Davis (131 games), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (140 games)
2011: Kyrie Irving (181 games), Derrick Williams (222 games)
2010: John Wall (266 games), Evan Turner (306 games)
2009: Blake Griffin (308 games), Hasheem Thabeet (224 games)
2008: Derrick Rose (289 games), Michael Beasley (409 games)
2007: Greg Oden (105 games), Kevin Durant (542 games)
2006: Andrea Bargniani (475 games), LaMarcus Aldrige (577 games)
2005: Andrew Bogut (507 games), Marvin Williams (626 games)
This is not to confuse quality of the player with quantity of games played, as the major factor in this trend, it appears, is injuries. Griffin, Derrick Rose and Greg Oden have each missed entire seasons due to injury, while Barniani and Bogut have had seasons where they played in less than 35 games.
Maybe there are some psychological factors at play here. No. 1 overall picks are burdened with enormous pressure on teams that tend to have lots of holes. Meanwhile No. 2 picks don't have the same hype, plus they may feel even more drive to succeed because they were looked over at the top of the draft.
Or maybe this is just a weird trend. It should be noted that three of the four No. 2 overall picks between 2000 and 2003 are considered busts. Stromile Swift (2000), Jay Williams (2002) and Darko Milicic (2003) had considerably less success than the players drafted above them -- Kenyon Martin, Yao Ming and James, respectively.
Perhaps this is all just a coincidence, and an eerie one at that.
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